Two for Tuesday: TRUE BLOOD and Maleficent

MALEFICENT

Maleficent Movie PosterDirector: Robert Stromberg
Writers: Linda Woolverton, Charles Perrault (based from the story “La Belle au bois dormant” by), 9 more credits »
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley

 All pictures are the property of the artist or production company, Fair Use for review purposes. http://movies.disney.com/maleficent/about/story

A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal – an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces a battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom – and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well. Written by Walt Disney Pictures

Hmm.  Ignore the line “Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom.” That might be the last scene but there’s no dictatorial epiphany before that.  But, that’s a criticism of the blurb and not the film.  I was surprised  this film actually lived up to its hype.  It is an amazing vehicle for Jolie, who I had never really thought of as an actor, just a celebrity.
Even my husband, the ultimate cynic, liked the movie and her performance.  We were both very happy with her emotive abilities while green screening  flight and other scenes impossible to accomplish without CGI.  But even more impressive was the quality of her acting in portraying everyday emotions, especially with the extensive facial prostheses requited to create the otherworldly face of this fae creature.

mal28To be sure the film has some issues: It slows in the middle third, and the major action scene was not the most cohesive or logical, and my husband thought the effects were shortchanged by making the entire scene very dark.  but aside from that the visuals are amazing, the world is well imagined and all the fairy tale world should be.

It is dark, and there are scenes of brutality and violence, as well as two people driven to madness; one discovers the way out of madness and the other descends further into the madness from guilt.

Maleficent has a familiar, a raven she gives human (and other) form to when she cannot fly. He becomes her servant,  her spy, her advisor, her conscience. The actor, Sam Riley is quite gifted in the role, even though it feels a bit undefined.

Princess Aurora, the “Sleeping Beauty” character is played by the very lovely Elle Fanning,  Like a putti become woman, she has a limited set of facial expressions.  Given the benedictions of goodness, beauty and “only knowing happiness” she actually is limited.  Occasionally, she is troubled, but almost immediately gets over it. The whole all happy, all the time think gives her a constantly repeating range of facial expressions to indicate this happy charm. If she pressed her tongue to her teeth and smiled one. more. time. I may have then lost it. But she is sweet and pretty to see. As they used to say, “The camera loves her.”

All in all this movie telling another side to the story of SLEEPING BEAUTY was a great entertainment value both in time and money spent. I wouldn’t bring anyone too young to it, not because of sex or real heavy duty violence, but just because it is very dark.  Both my husband and I really enjoyed it.

 

True Blood Page 3 iPhone Theme
(Photo credit: jambled)

TRUE BLOOD SEASON 7 PREMIER

ALL SPOILERS!!!!

So, at the end of Season Six, we saw the end of Warlo, the liberation of the vampires from camps, but not before the introduction of a vampire plague that turns them uncontrollable.  We also saw the show shoot right off the rails, and not just jumping, but leaping wildly over a sea of sharks.

Sam is mayor and was hanging with Nicole, the young woman he had gotten pregnant last year. Arlene owned Merlotte’s, now called Bellefleur and the town was instituting a one person one uninfected vampire protection system. Vamps get a snack and human’s get a better protector than their silver spray and wooden bullet shooting Smith and Wesson.  Sookie was living with Alcide when we came back. They’re still together and finally the much hoped for pairing happens although at this point she’s slept with half* the town’s supernaturals so who cares?

Eric was sunning himself when the fairy blood gave out and he caught on fire.  Pam took off to find him leaving Tara in charge of Willa.

A roving band of Hep V vampires attacks a town party at the newly remonikered Bellefleur’s where vampires are getting matched to a human. Pretty much everyone is there.  Tara gets killed.  Everyone blames Sookie because there are vampires around. THIS MADE NO SENSE TO ME. Arlene, Holly, Kevin (The Barney Fife style police officer), and Nicole.  Jason and his girlfriend and Andy and Bill split up to look for them. Jessica pledged to protect Andy’s surviving fairy daughter, Adilyn, and does nearly going up in flames at dawn. But, against her dad’s instructions she invites Jessica in. Jess is tempted to eat her but stops.

They end up in church with morning coming and everyone saying, again how it’s Sookie’s fault. She speaks about some of it being her fault but that she can help because no one knows vampires better than her.  Pam is searching for Eric in Morocco but after a terrible Russian Roulette challenge is sent to France. As Tara is her only vampire child, she should have felt a disturbance in the force when she passed, no? It may have been that she was pissed about the jerk she was playing Russian Roulette with. I thought maybe he was a vampire too.

My husband and I both thought the writers were trying really hard to rein the show’s craziness in a bit.  Obviously the unifying theme will be saving the world from the Hep V infected vampires. And, it is equally obvious that the True Death is coming for lots of the cast. Since it is the final season, there’s really nothing to lose if they do a crappy job other than the residual royalties and DVD sales. Whether or not the world will look back on the past few seasons and say WTF went wrong? or It was a great show that only went off track in a couple of seasons remains to be seen and is in the hands of Alan Ball’s successor.

Without Eric in this episode there wasn’t that sexy spark of Eric-ness we all love. There was also little Pam, and although I dislike the character  for her out and out acerbic qualities, I miss the balance she brought to a room full of “Bless their hearts” sweet southern ladies.  She’s the shows devil on the shoulder who says all the bad stuff our mama’s taught us not to utter. Pam obviously never heard “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything.”

While I would have been glad for Tara to have stayed gone after the season she left, I thought she was better as a vampire than a human. There’s enough sex and violence, blood and gore to make anyone happy, or disgusted. I have always contended that the vampire true death effects are big vat’s of black cherry jello in a semi set state. They must have some to use up from the pallet load they got at Costco.

I will keep watching! If you desire a more in depth recap of Sunday’s show check it out here: hitfix.com/monkeys-as-critics

 

*okay, not half. I think  just Bill, Eric, Warlo, and Alcide.